Parliament rises for recess, to reconvene after PL leadership race

Photo Credit – DOI – Clodagh Farrugia O’Neill

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Parliament has risen for Christmas recess and will reconvene on 20 January, which should provide enough time for the Labour Party to select a new party leader who would replace Joseph Muscat as Prime Minister.

The recess was formally announced by Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela after a brief morning sitting which served to formally approve the 2020 Budget.

PN MPs stayed away, as the party continued the boycott it announced last Monday following Dr Muscat’s announcement that he would not resign with immediate effect, instead asking Labour to start a leadership race to determine who would be replacing him. The process should be finalised by 12 January, and Dr Muscat pledged to resign the premiership afterwards.

Monday was also marked by protests in which protesters used the police barricades limiting public access to Freedom Square to prevent government MPs from leaving Parliament. Yesterday and today’s sittings have taken place in the morning in a bid to prevent a repeat of this occurrence.

With parliament devoid of opposition MPs, today’s sitting proceeded without incident, and following the budget debates that had taken place in October, Parliament formally voted on the 2020 Budget.

As might be expected, the government MPs present unanimously approved, without the need of a formal vote, the financial allocation to each ministry, and rejected the amendments tabled by the Opposition which, as is custom, proposed to reduce ministers’ salaries by a token amount as a symbolic protest.

MPs then voted on the financial appropriation for the year 2020, which authorises the expenditure of government funds.